As we gain experience with parallel file systems, it becomes increasingly clear that a single solution does not suit all applications. For example, it appears to be impossible to find a single appropriate interface, caching policy, file structure, or disk-management strategy. Furthermore, the proliferation of file-system interfaces and abstractions make applications difficult to port. We propose that the traditional functionality of parallel file systems be separated into two components: a fixed core that is standard on all platforms, encapsulating only primitive abstractions and interfaces, and a set of high-level libraries to provide a variety of abstractions and application-programmer interfaces (API's). We present our current and next-generation file systems as examples of this structure. Their features, such as a three-dimensional file structure, strided read and write interfaces, and I/O-node programs, are specifically designed with the flexibility and performance necessary to support a wide range of applications.